We had a very successful medical mission to Amichi, Anambra State for the year 2016. We served 952 patients! It was especially busy and particularly mentally and physically tasking than we have ever experienced before. We attribute this to the current economic crisis in Nigeria. Therefore, greater number of people are delaying seeking health care; while some have given up health care for other priority needs such as food. To meet the demand, we extended the number of days for the medical mission. We started with 3 full days (12/20, 21, 22) of health screening and treatment. Then, we added two additional days (12/28 and 12/30) during which we attended to multiple patients who had severely elevated blood pressure and/or blood sugar; followed up with patients who needed to pick up reading glasses because we ran out the first three days.
We served 952 patients (194 men and 758 women; most ranged in age from 18 to 85). Of these, 504 received general medical care. We had a large number of older adults who attended the clinic this year. We also saw a number of post-stroke patients and patients who have lost vision, likely related to diabetes. All three categories of patients needed assistance with ambulation either with walking stick/cane or human. We saw a number of children infants to school age with various maladies diarrhea, malaria, and malnutrition etc. One patient, in particular, stands out. He is a 10-year old boy who had not moved his bowel for several days with abdominal distension. The parents called for help and were instructed to bring him in. We treated and kept him awhile for observation. He is doing well now!
Of the 952 patients, 448 received eye care. We identified in 2015 that there was a high demand for eye care. So we planned and provided eye care this year in collaboration with Surgical Eye Expedition (SEE) USA who provided some medications. Eye problems included need for reading glasses, glaucoma, and infective eye conditions. We distributed 257 reading glasses and identified 85 patients who need eye surgeries for cataract and pterygium. We will work with SEE to provide these surgeries during the 2017 medical mission.
Moving forward, we want to
- 1. Explore ways to collect and donate ambulatory assistive devices in future missions.
- 2. Continue to educate the community on preventative measures and self-management. We would like to scale up on health education reaching the larger community.
- 3. Expand prevention and treatment of malaria for younger children 0 to 5 years and pregnant women. Despite the global effort to combat malaria, prevention and access to affordable treatment for low resourced communities is still a major public health concern. Untreated, malaria leads to developmental delays for children, and can affect unborn babies as well.
We thank our organizational donors (Timmy Global Health and Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation, and Surgical Eye Expeditions) and individual donors and supporters in Nigeria and the USA. Our patients thank and bless you!